The Homeschooling of Scout Finch
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Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most widely taught texts in language arts classrooms through the English-speaking world and is greatly valued by many readers today for its depiction of youth grappling with racism in the American South of the Depression Era. However, the novel’s subtle and sustained critique of public education has remained largely unrecognized. This essay identifies in the novel an underlying nostalgia for the past homeschooling of Southern white aristocracy as well as disdain for modern public institutions and for the democratic values that those institutions seek to instill in youth.